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days so let's take it to the table now. s.e. what are your thoughts? >> i will talk later about guns and mental health so just real quick on culture, i want to play a clip of a little movie called "bowling for columbine." >> video games. >> television. >> entertainment. >> satan. >> cartoons. >> guns. >> society. >> drugs. >> shock rocker marilyn manson. >> manson. >> manson. >> manson has canceled the last five dates over his u.s. tour out of respect for the those lost in littleton. but the singer says artists like himself are not the ones to blame. >> though i disagree with michael moore on just about everything including the premise of his movie, on that point, i do agree and i think we have this conversation about the culture and his whole point in this was to say, well, if we're going to blame marilyn manson who the shooters liked, why not
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blame bowling. they did that that morning, as well. every time this happens we try to grapple with what we can do, how to make sense of it and we go to the culture and every time we just don't come up with satisfying answers so i understand the impulse but i just want to remind people that it's not a new debate about violence in our culture. we have it often and usually we come up empty. >> well, and there is a tendency i think for everybody to apply their pet, pet issue to what the problem is here and mike huckabee saying it's taking god out of the schools and people want to see it through the lens but i want to say i'm glad that we are having what feels like a big conversation about important issues that have been overlooked a lot. mental health. gun control. it's -- i'm glad we're having that debate and obviously the one that's most politically fraught is gun control argument and engenders strong feelings on both sides. i have to be honest with you, at
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the federal level with republicans still in control of the house, i am fairly pessimistic that something is actually going to pass in the near term. there are only 15 republicans charlie cook pointed this out who are in district that is obama won so still most republicans are going to be more concerned with playing to the base and getting through their primary an appealing to a general election, more centrist audience, but in terms of that debate i do think strategically we need to be smart and number one, we should not talk specifically about this tragedy and what would have prevented this particular tragedy because we just can't know and we got caught up after virginia tech saying what would have prevented that shooting and a debate on both sides and caught up in the details rather than thinking big picture, what could cause an overall societial change. i think that's where we need to
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focus and caution democrats and gun control advocates about is that gun control in general is not popular and the idea of taking away everyone's guns, banning handguns very unpopular but the specifics are quite popular, even sometimes with gun owners, even sometimes with nra
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>> it's not talking about guns
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far decade not brought any of them back to the democratic fold. they're voting at the same or even increased rates for republicans. and democrats can look at it now and say we can win without them. we can win with the sort of new coalition and introduces a basic element of a political party and decides it's for something, if that becomes gun control, it puts it back on the national agenda, forces it in to the conversation and if that party is in position legislateively and the executive branch to act on it and democrats a couple of cycles from now and got the brady bill and the assaults weapon ban. >> i don't know how anyone can live in this culture we're in now and say that the status quo is acceptable and that's a mass killing a week and the price of freedom in america means that thousands of people, thousands of children blown away all the time and since when does americans say, oh well, we can't do anything and fix this problem? that's not american right there. i don't want to take away your
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guns in new hampshire or your father's guns but my father carries a handgun every day because of where his office is and afraid of getting shot every day and i want less guns so he doesn't go to work every day and fear he's going to be shot. that is critical and that's not the america that we should accept. >> all right. amid the tragedy of this week, we did have a moment of relief as we all learned that nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel and his crew are all free and safe. he and his crew were kidnapped thursday morning in syria. they were released late last night and richard described the harrowing ordeal this morning and from all of us at "the cycle," richard, we are so glad you're okay. >> we were with gunmen, rebels. they executed one of them on the spot. they took us to a series of safehouses and interrogation places. we weren't physically beaten or
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tortured. it was a lot of psychological tour which you are. threats of being killed. we were in the back of what you would think of as a minivan and as we were driving along the road, the kidnappers saw this checkpoint. started a gun fight with it, two of the kidnappers were killed. we climbed out of the vehicle and the rebels took us. ♪ ♪
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mean rolling down it. modest signs the compromise is possible. there's still a lot of work to be done. team obama put forward a new proposal with 2.5 trillion in spending cuts. team boehner hasn't outright rejected it this time so i guess that's positive. they say the deal is still unbalanced. white house is offering to increase the cutoff of bush era tax rates to $400,000. speaker boen hner said he's willing to let the bush cuts expire on million dollar earners but then boehner met this morning proposed a plan "b" to extend the bush rates for americans earning less than $1 million only. both president obama and senate democrats say that's doa. michael crowly the deputy washington bureau chief of "time" magazine. michael, let's start with this emerging compromise but i think the big piece of it sort of if
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you're a democrat, the big piece of this potentially is social security. this is at the heart of new deal and the safety net and the heart of the proud democratic party and obama looking at here is something called chain cpi. that basically means changing the cost of living formula for social security in a less generous way and cost the average beneficiaries more and more money the longer on social security and basically a benefit cut and a small but regressive tax increase because it would affect the income cutoffs for tax brackets. it strikes me that there could be real problems here for obama in terms of selling it to democrats in congress although i heard nancy pelosi today didn't seem too cool toward it at all. where do you think this stands with democrats right now, this social security idea? >> well, don't like it for the reasons that you say, and it is a regressive way of cutting benefits. you know, social security is also not the biggest budget
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buster. it really is medicare is the biggest long-term threat. but i think democrats hate a chain cpi adjustment less than they hate raising the retirement age for medicare which was a trial balloon we saw and provoked an angry reaction from the left. they may dislike this a little less than they dislike the talk about the retirement age for medicare. you make a good point. there's been so much focus i think appropriately on whether the republican party is capable of accepting higher tax rates and whether the tea party and the junior members of the house are going to stand their ground and kind of shoot down anything boehner proposes on that front, but you have to keep in mind, obama has got to sell it to democrats as well. you can't do this without democrats. so he moves a little bit boehner's way and then he has to worry about his blaflank on the left. >> let's talk about that a little bit. one of the other underlying
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dynamics we've been talking about is the democrats have the uner hand. if nothing happens, all the tax rates go up and then they're able to just have a bill lowering the rates for the people that they want to lower them for. i mean, it's not just the cost of living adjustment that is a compromise here. you also have the president lifting the number from $250,000 to $400,000. you have him giving up on the payroll tax cut ex teng. is this even a good deal for democrats? should democrats accept this deal? should they compromise right now? >> i think a lot of democrats are saying, hey, we just won the election. why is the president the one who is moving? and it is striking, if you look at the polling, it's extremely favorable to the president. i mean, the disapproval of how republicans are handling this situation right now is off the charts, and the support for raising taxes on wealthy americans is off the charts. there is a kind of -- there's like a plurality of a solution
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here. it's a mix of cutting spending. people want to cut spending and raising taxes, but crucially it doesn't say what the mix should be. when you ask them about specific categories of spending, they say no, don't cut defense, don't cut social security, don't cut medicare. it's tough to figure out what the public wants. in general obama has the upper hand. i can understand why the left might be growing increasingly frustrated. we're talking about what boehner can sell to his caucus. i do think liberals hated that medicare retirement age change. change cpi might be more palatable. a lot of people don't completely understand what it means and it might be an easy thing to sell. >> let's talk about thea mt because no one else is. this is a tax so onerous and poorly designed that congress has to patch it every year to avoid bankrupting the middle class. i really like tony's description in forbes, step one, compute your regular tax liability. step two, compute your
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alternative minute tax liability. step three, take a generous pull of scotch and curse loudly. step four, pay the higher of step one and two. what is going to happen with the amt? >> the amt is really important. it might be one of the most important issues that people don't really dig into. we don't talk about it a lot in this conversation, but it does really hit home. people do get blindsided by it. they don't understand it and then it zaps them. i think it's pretty much on the table and to be determined, but it's depressing because washington has been talking about fixing the amt for a decade. >> at least. >> anything they pun, that's it. >> michael crowley from "time," thank you for joining up. coming up next, why s.e. says the current consideration on gun control needs to expand.
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today we touched on three of the issues connected to the newtown tragedy, guns, a culture of violence, and mental hale, but despite those good efforts to take a comprehensive look at the problem, the national policy conversation inevitably reverts back to one issue, gun control, and that conversation is always the same. the left pushes, the right resists. that conversation isn't working. here is why. if you truly believe that guns are the problem, then the only intellectually honest argument is to eliminate them all. focusing only on assault weapons is a cop out. in 2010 a mere 2.8% of homicides were committed withen assault weapon while 42.6% were committed with a handgun and during the ten-year federal ban on assault weapons numerous mass shootings, including columbine, still took place.
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making it harder to obtain a gun is also confusing the issue. adam lanza stole the guns from his mother. gun control advocates should want her guns and all guns banned. would-be murderers don't respect those artificial boundaries. but aside from the constitutional impossibility of eliminating all guns, prohibition hasn't proven to be useful in eliminating much of anything. including illicit drugs and, yes, illegal weapons. there are mass shootings even in countries with the strictest of gun laws and someone intent on killing a lot of people doesn't need a gun to do it. so if we know that banning certain guns won't stop gun violence, that gun-free zones don't protect the people inside them, and that eliminating all guns is impossible and infective, then what workable solutions are gun control advocates actually bringing to want to have a real
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conversation? a real conversation has to start with the broken mental

The Cycle
MSNBC December 18, 2012 12:37pm-1:00pm PST

News/Business. Politics, the economy, media, sports and any other issues that grab people's attention. New.

program was likely cut short due to a recording issue

TOPIC FREQUENCY Boehner 5, Obama 3, Manson 3, America 2, Washington 2, Marilyn Manson 2, Columbine 1, Littleton 1, Us 1, Nausea 1, Syria 1, Aarp 1, Virginia 1, Richard Engel 1, Michael Crowley 1, Adam Lanza 1, Nancy Pelosi 1, Buster 1, Charlie Cook 1, Let 's 1
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on 12/18/2012